Tag Archives: Bible

Our Daily Bread — God In The Storm

Our Daily Bread

Job 37:14-24

He is excellent in power. —Job 37:23

Early one morning the wind began to blow and raindrops hit my house like small stones. I peered outside at the yellow-gray sky and watched as trees thrashed in the wind. Veins of lightning lit the sky accompanied by bone-rattling thunder. The power blinked on and off, and I wondered how long the bad weather would continue.

After the storm passed, I opened my Bible to begin my day with reading Scripture. I read a passage in Job that compared the Lord’s power to the atmospheric muscle of a storm. Job’s friend, Elihu said, “God thunders marvelously with His voice” (37:5). And, “He covers His hands with lightning, and commands it to strike” (36:32). Indeed, God is “excellent in power” (37:23).

Compared to God, we humans are feeble. We’re unable to help ourselves spiritually, heal our hearts, or fix the injustice we often endure. Fortunately, the God of the storm cares about weaklings like us; He “remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). What’s more, God “gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isa. 40:29). Because God is strong, He can help us in our weakness. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

I sing the mighty power of God

That made the mountains rise,

That spread the flowing seas abroad

And built the lofty skies. —Watts

God is the source of our strength.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 12-14; 2 Timothy 1

Charles Spurgeon – None but Jesus

CharlesSpurgeon

“He that believeth on him is not condemned.” John 3:18

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 12:5-11

You are never liable as a believer to punishment for your sins. You will be chastised on account of them, as a father chastises his child; that is part of the gospel dispensation; but you will not be smitten for your sins as the lawgiver smites the criminal. Your Father may often punish you as he punished the wicked, but never for the same reason. The ungodly stand on the ground of their own demerits; their sufferings are awarded as their due deserts. But your sorrows do not come to you as a matter of desert; they come to you as a matter of love. God knows that in one sense your sorrows are such a privilege that you may account of them as a boon you do not deserve. I have often thought of that when I have had a sore trouble. I know some people say, “You deserved the trouble.” Yes, my dear brethren, but there is not enough merit in all the Christians put together, to deserve such a good thing as the loving rebuke of our heavenly Father. Perhaps you cannot see that; you cannot think that a trouble can come to you as a real blessing in the covenant. But I know that the rod of the covenant is as much the gift of grace as the blood of the covenant. It is not a matter of merit; it is given to us because we need it. But I question whether we were ever so good as to deserve it. We were never able to get up to so high a standard as to deserve so rich, so gracious a providence as this covenant blessing—the rod of our chastening God.

For meditation: When disciplined by his heavenly Father, the Christian is experiencing a beatitude (Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12)!

Sermon no. 362

27 October (Preached 17 February 1861)

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Will Rejoice

dr_bright

“You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22).

Once you and I truly experience the joy of the Lord, no one can rob us of that joy!

That does not mean that we will never experience disappointment, sorrow or grief; but it does mean that deeps down underneath it all is the joy that comes as a gift from God, the fruit of the Spirit. And that is the kind of joy that no one can take away.

Underneath the tears, the heartache, lies the calm, sweet peace that God gives to those who walk in faith and obedience. And that is a part of the joy that He promises.

Jesus’ promise to see His disciples again, of course, refers to after the resurrection. “You will be so firmly persuaded that I have risen,” He says to them, “and that I am the Messiah, that neither the threats nor the persecutions of men will ever be able to shake your faith, or produce doubt or unbelief and thus take away your joy.”

Jesus’ prediction, as we know, was remarkably fulfilled, for after He revealed Himself to them following the resurrection, not one of the apostles ever doubted for a moment that He has risen from the dead. No trial or persecution was able to shake their faith – so that their joy remained.

You and I have certainties of faith that are unshakable, and thus they produce joy – joy that will remain forever and ever.

Bible Reading: John 16:20-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will remember to praise and thank God for the unshakable joy that He alone gives.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Suffering

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It’s a bittersweet reality. People suffers. There is no one on Earth with enough money, power or prestige to delegate their share of life’s grief. The tabloids are rife with the stories of the celebrated, rich and powerful trying to buy peace of mind; yet they, too, still suffer from calamity and misfortune.

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake…have no fear of them, nor be troubled.

I Peter 3:14

The Bible has a lot to say about earthly sorrow. Interestingly, Jesus says suffering as a believer is not to be feared or avoided. Why? Suffering causes you to develop endurance in your faith, and that enduring faithful strength produces a Christ-like character in your life. The ultimate outcome of character in life is hope. Miraculously, when a believer in Jesus suffers, the end result is hope!

If you are enduring difficulties today, be assured it is not pointless misery. Every tear you shed is known by your loving Father. Some sorrow will be redeemed in this life on Earth, transformed into a soulful peace. Other travail will be counted as righteousness to your soul and exchanged for joy in Heaven. Regardless of your situation, don’t fear; the One who called you by name will, by His name, redeem all pain.

Recommended Reading: Romans 5:1-8

 

 

Alistair Begg – Giving Generously

Alistair Begg

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? Declares the Lord of Hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.

Haggai 1:9

Grudging souls limit their contributions to the ministry and missionary operations and call such saving good economy; little do they dream that in doing so they are impoverishing themselves. Their excuse is that they must care for their own families, and they forget that to neglect the house of God is a sure way to bring ruin upon their own houses. Our God has a method in providence by which He can cause our endeavors to succeed beyond our expectation, or He can defeat our plans to our confusion and dismay; by a turn of His hand He can steer our vessel in a profitable channel or run it aground in poverty and bankruptcy. It is the teaching of Scripture that the Lord enriches the generous and leaves the miserly to discover that withholding leads to poverty.

In a very wide sphere of observation, I have noticed that the most generous Christians of my acquaintance have always been the happiest, and almost invariably the most prosperous. I have seen the generous giver rise to financial levels of which he never dreamed; and I have as often seen the mean, ungenerous soul descend to poverty by the very stinginess by which he thought to rise. Men trust good stewards with larger and larger sums, and so it frequently is with the Lord; He gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels. Where wealth is not bestowed, the Lord makes a little much by the contentment that the sanctified heart feels in his portion from which a tithe has been dedicated to the Lord.

Selfishness looks first at home, but godliness seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; yet in the long run selfishness is loss, and godliness is great gain. It requires faith to act toward our God with an open hand, but surely He deserves it from us; and all that we can do is a very poor acknowledgment of our amazing indebtedness to His goodness.

 

 

John MacArthur – Passing on a Godly Heritage

John MacArthur

“From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Not long ago I met with a group of Christian leaders to consider several candidates for a significant ministry position. During our meeting it dawned on me that each candidate’s father was a prominent pastor. Each candidate had grown up in a family that daily taught and exemplified biblical truth.

That illustrates the enormous impact a Christian heritage can have on a person–whether he pursues the pastorate or not. And by no means is it fathers only who influence their children toward righteousness. Quite the contrary: A godly mother usually has far more opportunity to do so.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had four sons–all of whom followed his example by becoming ministers. It’s reported that at a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” “That’s easy,” the son replied, “Mother!”

Timothy knew the benefits of a spiritual heritage like that. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois (2 Tim. 1:5) taught him the sacred writings, which give the wisdom that leads to salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). Even as a child, Timothy was being equipped for the ministry God would later call him to. The spiritual training he received as a child–and the reservoir of biblical knowledge he accumulated in those early years–were crucial elements in his adult ministry.

If you are a parent, the most precious gift you can give your child is a godly upbringing that will serve as the foundation for his or her future ministries.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for those who have instructed you in the Word and encouraged you in righteousness.

If you are a parent, pray that your children will exceed you in the faith.

Be faithful to pray for the young people around you and set a godly example for them to follow.

For Further Study:

Read 1 Samuel 1:1–2:10. What characteristics of a godly mother did Hannah display?

 

Charles Stanley – Requirements of a Godly Influence

Charles Stanley

1 Corinthians 1:25-31

Have you ever wondered what God’s human history textbook might look like? Who would appear on its pages as the principal movers and shakers of world events? First Corinthians 1:27-28 provides a clue when it tells us that the Lord has chosen the weak and the foolish things of the world to shame the strong and wise. This principle is woven throughout the fabric of biblical history.

A prostitute named Rahab makes a right choice and becomes the ancestor of the Messiah. A widow named Ruth chooses the God of Israel and becomes the great-grandmother of King David. An infertile wife named Hannah pours out her soul to God and becomes the mother of Samuel the prophet. A man called Abram responds to God, leaves his relatives behind, and becomes the father of all who believe. A woman named Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ head and gains for herself an eternal monument in the stream of history.

Who are the truly influential people on this earth? Don’t be deceived by outward appearances. The ones with impact are those who leave all to follow Jesus—the men and women who have proven themselves to be “blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [they] appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

You may not think that your light is very bright by this world’s standards, but when the Lord calls you a luminary, you can agree with Him and keep on shining.

 

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Mere Wrappings

Ravi Z

In a study included in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine children were shown to overwhelmingly prefer the taste of food that comes in McDonald’s wrappers. The study had preschoolers sample identical foods in packaging from McDonald’s and in matched, but unbranded, packaging. The kids were then asked if the food tasted the same or if one tasted better. The unmarked foods lost the taste test every time. Even apple juice, carrots, and milk tasted better to the kids when taken from the familiar wrappings of the Golden Arches. “This study demonstrates simply and elegantly that advertising literally brainwashes young children into a baseless preference for certain food products,” said a physician from Yale’s School of Medicine. “Children, it seems, literally do judge a food by its cover. And they prefer the cover they know.”(1)

The science of advertising is often about convincing the world that books can and should be judged by their covers. These kids were not merely saying they preferred the taste of McDonald’s food. They actually believed the chicken nugget they thought was from McDonald’s tasted better than an identical nugget. From an early age and on through adulthood, branding is directive in telling us what we think and feel, who we are, and what matters.

But lest we blame television and marketing entirely for the wiles of brand recognition, we should recall that advertisers continue to have employment simply because advertising works. That is, long before marketers were encouraging customers to judge by image, wrapping, and cover, we were judging by these methods anyway. When the ancient Samuel was looking for the person God would ordain as king, he had a particular image in mind. In fact, when he first laid eyes on Eliab, Samuel thought confidently that this was the one God had chosen. But on the contrary, God said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

The study with the preschoolers is startling because adults can see clearly that a carrot in a McDonald’s bag is still inherently a carrot. Yet how often are we, too, blindsided by mere wrappings? Is the mistake of a child in believing the food tastes better in a yellow wrapper really any different than our own believing we are better people dressed with the right credentials, covered by the latest fashion, or wrapped in the right belief-systems? Covered in whatever comforts us or completely stripped of our many wrappings, we are the same people underneath.

According to the apostle Paul, there is one exception. Paul writes of a kind of clothing that changes the one inside them. “[F]or all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”(2) Clothed in the righteousness of the man Jesus, a person is wrapped in the identity of one without sin. They are given new packaging, new life, new robes worn only by Christ, and thus, like him, they are fitted to approach the throne of God.

Unlike the catch and costliness of well-marketed wrappings, the robes Paul describes are free. The beautiful and difficult word of Christianity is that Christ requires only that we come without costume or pretense. The many robes we collect, the covers with which we judge the world, we must be willing to give him. He takes from tired shoulders robes of self-importance and false security. He tears from determined grasps those garments of self-pity and shame. And then he clothes the needful soul with garments of salvation, arrays us in robes of righteousness, and reminds us that we wear his holy name from the inside out.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) “Foods Tastes Better With McDonald’s Logo, Kids Say,” Forbes, August 6, 2007.

(2) Galatians 3:27-28.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Light at evening time

CharlesSpurgeon

“It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Zechariah 14:7

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 24:13-21, 28-35

God very frequently acts in grace in such a manner that we can find a parallel in nature. For instance, God says, “… as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, … so shall my word be, …it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” We find him speaking concerning the coming of Christ, “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.” We find him likening the covenant of grace to the covenant which he made with Noah concerning the seasons, and with man concerning the different revolutions of the year—“Seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” We find that the works of creation are very frequently the mirror of the works of grace, and that we can draw figures from the world of nature to illustrate the great acts of God in the world of his grace towards his people. But sometimes God oversteps nature. In nature after evening comes night. The sun has had its hours of journeying; the fiery steeds are weary; they must rest. Lo, they descend the azure steeps and plunge their burning fetlocks in the western sea, while night in her dark chariot follows at their heels. God, however, oversteps the rule of nature. He is pleased to send to his people times when the eye of reason expects to see no more day, but fears that the glorious landscape of God’s mercies will be shrouded in the darkness of his forgetfulness. But instead, God overleaps nature, and declares that at evening time, instead of darkness there shall be light.

For meditation: The text has only ever been true on one occasion in a physical sense (Joshua 10:12-14), but God, to whom even the darkness is light (Psalm 139:12), is always repeating the event spiritually in the lives of his people.

Sermon no. 160

25 October (1857)

John MacArthur – Heeding God’s Warnings

John MacArthur

“By [Thy judgments] Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps. 19:11).

Psalm 19:11 concludes David’s hymn on the sufficiency of Scripture. How appropriate that it ends noting the value of God’s warning, because guarding His people against temptation, sin, error, foolishness, false teachers, and every other threat to their spiritual well-being is a major concern to God.

For example, God said to the prophet Ezekiel, “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth, and give them warning from Me” (Ezek. 33:7). The great tragedy of the Old Testament is that Israel rejected God’s “statutes and His covenants which He made with their fathers, and His warnings with which He warned them” (2 Kings 17:15).

The apostle Paul defined his ministry as that of proclaiming Christ and warning “every man and teaching every man with all wisdom” (Col. 1:28). After exhorting the Thessalonian church to maintain sexual purity, Paul added, “The Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you” (1 Thess. 4:6).

He also warned the Ephesian church, saying, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish [warn] each one with tears” (Acts 20:29-32). He did that by declaring to them the whole counsel of God (v. 27).

The warnings of Scripture aren’t intended to frustrate or stifle you. On the contrary, when you heed them they shelter you from spiritual harm and bring the joy of knowing you’re in God’s will. That’s the “great reward” David speaks of in Psalm 19:11. May you earn it as he eventually did through heeding God’s Word in every aspect of life.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Overwhelmed with the sufficiency of God’s Word, David prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14). Make that your prayer as well.

For Further Study:

Reread Psalm 19:7-11, reviewing each characteristic and benefit of Scripture. Think carefully about how they apply to your life.

 

Joyce Meyer – Find Balance

Joyce meyer

Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away.

—Hebrews 2:1

When Satan finds people out of balance, he has an inroad to destroy their lives. There are people who get out of balance in everything: from not sleeping, to sleeping too much; from not cleaning their house, to trying to keep it so clean that nobody can move in it.

Find balance; balance keeps your day going right. Satan doesn’t much care if you don’t do enough of something, or if you do too much of it, as long as you don’t stay balanced. Take time to examine yourself prayerfully, and ask God to show you how to remain balanced.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Our Great Privilege

dr_bright

“And don’t you realize that you also will perish unless you leave your evil ways and turn to God?” (Luke 13:3).

Today I sought to share the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ with a taxi driver who reacted impatiently when I handed him a book which I had written, entitled “Jesus and the Intellectual.” He flung it aside in contempt. I have seldom met anyone who appeared to be more angry and resentful of God than he was. I felt impressed to say to him what Jesus said to the Galileans, “It is a matter of life and death what you do with Jesus Christ. There is a heaven and there is a hell. God loves you and cares for you. He wants you to come to Him and receive the gift of His only begotten Son through whom you can have forgiveness, life abundant, and life eternal.” From all appearances he could not have cared less.

That warning to the Galileans many years ago applies equally to the nations and individuals today. If one truth in the Word of God is made abundantly clear, it is this: Repent or perish.

“It is because of this solemn fear of the Lord, which is ever present in our minds, that we work so hard to win others. God knows our hearts, that they are pure in this matter, and I hope that, deep within, you really know it too” (2 Corinthians 5:11).

As Christians we have the same awesome responsibility and great privilege to tell everyone who will listen about Christ. Most of us would take great risk to save the life of a drowning child or to snatch up a toddler from the path of an automobile. Yet, most everyone who is living today will be dead in 100 years or less, but all men will live in heaven or hell for eternity. How much more important it is to tell men and women who are perishing without Christ of the loving Savior who cares and who is waiting to forgive if only they will surrender their lives to Him!

We must warn them and if we do not know how, it behooves us to learn how to share our faith. One method of witnessing is the use of the Four Spiritual Laws booklet. Anyone is capable of sharing this booklet with others – if not vocally, at least by handing it to someone.

If you are hesitant to witness vocally why not begin distributing literature like the Four Spiritual Laws booklet?

Bible Reading: Luke 13:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I resolve with God’s help, to begin to distribute Christian literature, especially the Word of God and materials that will help individuals to make definite commitments of their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – World Power

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In August 2013, many Egyptians were killed in a clash between the Muslim Brotherhood and security forces of the government. Everyone watched to see what side America would take. Other nations recognize the weight of a world power backing it. But President Obama was firm in saying, “We don’t take sides.”

We can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:6

People assume if America is on their side, they can’t lose. While that’s not necessarily true with this nation, it is true with the Lord. He can win any battle. With God, Daniel was saved from the mouth of the lion. With God, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not singed in the fiery furnace. With God, Moses was able to lead the Israelites away from Pharaoh and through the Red Sea on dry ground. “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Whatever you are facing today, whoever your enemies may be – do not fear. When the Lord is your helper, He will provide you with the strength to do what needs to be done. Ask God to cast away fear and help you stand strong. Then ask Him to reveal Himself to President Obama and his cabinet so they know God is the only true world power.

Recommended Reading: Joshua 23:1-10

 

 

Greg Laurie – The Watchman

greglaurie

“Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.”

—Ezekiel 3:17–18

The apostle Paul compared himself to a watchman. A watchman in ancient Israel would stand on a city wall and pay attention to what was going on. If there was an enemy approaching, he would warn the people. His job was to be faithful, not fearful, and consider the people’s safety and security. If he failed to do that, then the blood of those people would be on his hands. In other words, if the watchman did not warn others, then he would be responsible for what happened to them.

Paul told the Ephesian elders, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26–27 NKJV).

It is sort of like what a parent does with a child. The job of a parent is to be a parent; it is not to be a best friend. Be a mom. She needs a mother. Be a dad. He doesn’t need a buddy. Sometimes parents have to sit children down and say, “Don’t do that. It’s wrong. I don’t want you to do that.”

In the same way, as Christians, we need to help each other. We need to be that watchman for someone else. Maybe you are a mature believer who knows some of the dangers out there, and you see a younger believer getting sucked into something harmful. It might be a little awkward, but you say, “Can I just offer a word of advice to you? Be careful in this area. I would hate to see you fall there.”

Maybe they don’t love the fact that you said something like this to them. Or maybe they do. But you are just being a faithful watchman.

Our Daily Bread — Re-Creation

Our Daily Bread

2 Corinthians 5:12-21

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17

Chris Simpson’s life used to be consumed by hate. After he and his wife lost their first child, he was confused and angry. He directed that anger toward various ethnic groups and covered his body with hate-filled tattoos.

After listening to his son mimic his hatred, though, Simpson knew he needed to change. He watched a Christian movie about courage and began attending church. One month later he was baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ. Simpson is now a new person and is leaving the hate behind him, which includes the painful and expensive process of having his tattoos removed.

The apostle Paul knew something about this kind of deep transformation. He hated Jesus and persecuted His followers (Acts 22:4-5; 1 Cor. 15:9). But a personal encounter and spiritual union with Christ (Acts 9:1-20) changed all of that, causing him to reevaluate his life in light of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. This union with Christ made Paul a new person. The old order of sin, death, and selfishness was gone and a new beginning, a new covenant, a new perspective and way of living had come.

Following Jesus is not turning over a new leaf; it is beginning a new life under a new Master. —Marvin Williams

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

What is the evidence that my union with Christ

has transformed my old humanity? Are there

indicators that I am not the me I used to be?

Being in Christ is not rehabilitation, it’s re-creation.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 3-5; 1 Timothy 4

 

Charles Spurgeon – Grace reviving Israel

CharlesSpurgeon

“I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” Hosea 14:5-7

Suggested Further Reading: Colossians 3:16-4: 1

The most beautiful tree in a garden is the one that bears the most fruit: and there is a promise given to a Christian that after his branches have spread, his beauty shall be as the olive tree; that is, he shall grow and be laden with fruit. The olive tree is evergreen; and so is the beauty of the Christian. Alas for the beautiful Christians we have in some of our places of worship on Sunday! Glorious Christians! If they could be packed up and sent to heaven just as they are, provided their appearances were true indications of their state, what a blessed thing it would be! But alas! On the Monday they have not the same sort of dress they had on Sunday, and therefore they have not the same kind of actions. Dear friends, there is so much Sunday religion in these days! Now, I like a Monday religion, and a Tuesday religion, and a Wednesday religion, and a Thursday religion, and a Friday religion, and a Saturday religion. I do not think the religion of the pulpit, or the religion of the pen, is to be relied upon. I think it is the religion of a draper’s shop, the religion of a corn exchange, religion in a house, religion in the street, and the religion of a fireside, that proves us to be God’s children. But how would some of you come off if you were weighed in these balances? Fine fellows, on Sunday; but poor creatures on Monday! You are not well arrayed then; but ah! If you were Christians, you would always be well arrayed: yes, you would always be as beautiful as the olive tree.

For meditation: God wants us to live the Christian life, not to live the Christian meeting! True worship involves practice as well as praise (Romans 12:1; James 1:26-27).

Sermon no. 342

24 October (Undated Sermon)

 

John MacArthur – Desiring God’s Word

John MacArthur

“The judgments of the Lord are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10).

I have a friend who has a beautiful collection of rare Bibles. My favorite is one of the earliest printed copies, dating back to sixteenth-century England. The first time I held it in my hands I noticed that the top third of every page was covered with a dark stain. Tears filled my eyes when I realized it was from the blood of its original owner.

My friend explained that when Bloody Mary ruled England, she delighted in terrorizing Protestants and murdering as many as she could. Her soldiers would execute their victims through some bloody means, then take his or her Bible and dip it into the blood. Some of those Bibles have been preserved and are known as Martyrs’ Bibles. Scientists have confirmed that the dark stains on every page of my friend’s Bible are, indeed, human blood.

That same Bible is well worn from being studied. And many of its pages have water stains on them–perhaps from tears. Obviously it was someone’s most precious possession, and his or her blood is there to prove it.

Psalm 19:10 captures the heart of such people, extolling the preciousness of God’s Word. To David, Scripture was more valuable than the best gold and purest honey. Meditating on it meant more to him than the richest and sweetest things in life. He knew its ability to satisfy every spiritual appetite.

As precious as God’s Word is, many Christians take it for granted and become complacent in their studies. Some go for long periods without gaining fresh insights from its pages.

Perhaps you know someone who is in that situation. If so, ask the Lord for wisdom as you gently encourage him or her toward greater faithfulness in the Word. At the same time be careful not to become negligent yourself.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the example of those who have loved His Word to the cost of their lives.

Ask Him to give you the desire to feed on His truth daily and the drive to satisfy that desire.

For Further Study:

Read 1 Peter 2:1-2 as a reminder to keep your heart sensitive to the precious gift of God’s Word.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Reasons for Trials

dr_bright

“He…comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

For two years, Annette had suffered through the agony of her beloved husband’s terminal cancer. Meanwhile, their only son had been drawn into drug addiction through the influence of an undesirable group of students in the local high school. She was devastated. Her whole life was filled with heartache and sorrow. She had nothing to live for. Then a neighbor told her of Jesus – how He could give her peace of heart and peace of mind and could provide the purpose she needed in her life. He could even change her son.

So Annette received the wonderful gift of God’s love, the Lord Jesus Christ, and began to pray for her son. At first he was antagonistic, but gradually he became aware of the dramatic transformation in his mother, and in answer to her prayers, along with those of her new-found friends in the local church, he too came to worship the Savior and make Him Lord of his life.

In the meantime, Annette was suffering great financial difficulty because of the huge doctor and hospital bills and her lack of ability to work during her husband’s illness. But God wonderfully comforted and strengthened her so that now she can witness joyfully of His gracious mercy and faithfulness in her behalf. She and her son are ministering effectively to others who are experiencing heartache and tragedy similar to those which once plagued them.

Are you experiencing difficulties, sorrows, heartaches, disappointments? Ask the Lord to show you how to translate them into victories so that He can use you to be a blessing to those around you who are experiencing similar difficulties.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 1:3-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God is faithful in His love and wisdom, I will trust the indwelling Holy Spirit for the power to accept the trial or adversity I face today, and will expect God to use it to comfort and help someone else through me.

 

 

 

Max Lucado – Mournful to Hopeful

Max Lucado

In May of 2008, Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth lost their five-year-old daughter in an automobile accident. They were deluged by messages of kindness. One in particular gave Steven strength.  It was from a pastor friend who’d lost his son in an auto accident. “Remember, your future with your daughter will be greater than your past with her.”

Death seems to take so much. We bury the wedding that never happened, the golden years we never knew. We bury dreams. But in heaven these dreams will come true. Acts 3:21 says that God has promised a “restoration of all things.”

All things includes all relationships. Our final home will hear no good-byes. Gone forever. Let the promise change you. From sagging to seeking, from mournful to hopeful! From dwellers in the land of good-byes to a heaven of hellos!  You’ll get through this!

From You’ll Get Through This

Charles Stanley – Unwise Reactions to Criticism

Charles Stanley

1 Peter 2:23-24

No one likes personal criticism. Sometimes it seems that we go out of our way to help and encourage others, only to be met with a harsh word or accusation. Too often, when that happens, our protective shields immediately go up. But what do we do with the remark that has already been said? What is our normal, human response to criticism?

First, we might respond by repressing the matter. That is, we acknowledge there is a problem but don’t want to do anything about it. In such cases, we may answer, “Thank you for sharing your feelings. I understand what you are saying.” And yet we may not understand. We might feel grievously hurt by the comment but do not want to deal with the hardship of exploring or discussing it further.

Second, we may respond by suppressing the conflict. We may act as if nothing ever happened, completely ignoring the situation to the extent that we actually become unaware that anything is wrong. Far from being a cure, this only delays and exaggerates our eventual reaction to the problem.

Third, we might respond by blaming someone else. We can be quick to point the finger at others, while denying any personal responsibility in the matter.

Selfish tendencies serve only to alienate us further from those who have challenged us in the first place. True, a word of criticism can hurt, but there may be something within the remark that is worth examining. Are you strong enough to face criticism with humility and godly confidence?